Today in the category of “Things I Wish My Fellow Midwesterners Wouldn’t Say Because it Gives My Friends Too Much Ammunition,”, Democratic Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has reported that he has never used an ATM machine.
That’s right. In an article posted in the Omaha World-Herald yesterday, Senator Nelson, as senator presumably one of the most important people in our government, stated he couldn’t speak to the topic of reasonable ATM fees in the Senate finance bill because “I’ve never used an ATM.” He went on to say, “I could learn how to do it just like I've . . . I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.”
By “the holograms” apparently the Senator did not mean that ATMs in fact emitted three-dimensional images of a princess telling you your cash is her only hope; according to the World-Herald he was instead referring to the bar codes found on products in stores. Which are neither three dimensional nor even shimmery.
The Omaha World-Herald went on to report that Nebraska’s other senator, Republican Senator Mike Johanns has used an ATM five times or fewer in his entire life. And Senator Chuck Grassley, of neighboring Iowa, indicated that he “has a credit card, but I don’t use it for cash.”
To say that these men’s astounding lack of experience in one of the most basic and common means of financial transaction makes them unqualified to speak credibly on financial sector reform is obviously a gross conflation of issues. Yet it does not inspire confidence that the needs and issues of ordinary people are being heard in the deliberations, either.
In other news, MTV is currently pitching Senators Nelson and Johanns to star on a new reality show in which the two are introduced to “strange technology” like “the steering wheel”, “laundry detergent” and “the stove.”
Jim McDermott, SJ